Hawaii Women Lawyers


Annual HWL Awards Reception

Friday, April 17, 2015

Presentation of HWL Awards for 2014

Janet Kelly »
Honorable Karen M. Radius (ret.) »
Honorable Jennifer Ching »
Robert A. Chong »
Women of Waianae »

Glass Shell Awards are given each year at the HWL Annual Awards


Janet Kelly



Individual attorney having achieved accomplishments of significant merit that advance the mission of Hawaii Women Lawyers

Janet Kelly

For over a decade, Janet Kelly, as an attorney with the Legal Aid Society of Hawai’i, has provided legal services to hundreds of individuals and families experiencing homelessness through on-site services at locations around Oahu, from the beaches of the Leeward Coast to the Institute of Human Services to Waikiki Health Center.

In 2014, she helped to raise the issue of the difficulty in replacing identification that gets stolen or lost by those who are homeless and was elected as the 2015 Vice-Chair for Partners In Care, a coalition of Oahu's homeless service providers, government representatives and community stakeholders working together in partnership to end homelessness.  

With her help, the homeless get their lives back, including, Anthony who was living on the beaches for 14 years after losing his job as an auto mechanic because of his health and made the few dollars he had each month by collecting cans when his health was good.  He didn't have contact with family or friends because he didn't want to burden them and on occasion would watch them from the bushes when they would be out picnicking in the park. 

Janet met him when he was at his "last stop" at Kapolei Park.  He was planning to end his life--"everything was so hopeless," he was alone, his health was bad and he couldn't work.  Janet helped him to apply for social security benefits and get health care established.  Because of Janet's help, he is now living in a shelter and getting his life back.  He's even picnicking with his family now in the park and not watching from the bushes. 

In her free time, Janet is a painter and ceramicist who annually participates in the Empty Bowl fundraiser for Hawai’i Meals on Wheels.  During the holiday season she also coordinates her own food drive among her friends and family for the Hawai’i Food Bank, which usually results in a donation of 1,200 to 1,400 pounds each year.  She is a true public servant and a dedicated community member. Janet is a 1999 graduate of Seattle University School of Law. 

Honorable Karen M. Radius (ret.)



Individual in our community who has made significant community contributions that advance the mission of Hawaii Women Lawyers

Honorable Karen M. Radius (ret.)

The Honorable Karen M. Radius graduated with honors from the George Washington University National Law Center in Washington, D.C. in 1974. After being admitted to the Hawaii Bar that same year she began work with the Legal Aid Society, where she served in

numerous capacities from 1974-79, including that of supervising attorney of the Legal Aid office and acting Executive Director of the Society. In 1980 Judge Radius established the law firm of Radius & Lau that continued until she was appointed to the Family Court bench in 1993. Since that time she has served in all divisions of the Family Court of the First Circuit.


Judge Radius was the founding judge of the Juvenile Drug Court in 2001 and the Girls Court in 2004. Girls Court provides open court room sessions and gender specific programming for girls and their families. This innovative gender responsive program was recognized by the federal Office of Juvenile Justice Detention Prevention (OJJDP) as a Best Practice data based approach.


In 2007, Judge Radius was named Jurist of the Year by the Hawaii State Judiciary, and Judge of the Year by the Hawaii Women Lawyers. In 2009 she received the Hawaii State Bar Association's Pro Bono Service Award. Legal Aid Society of Hawaii recognized her with their Lifetime Achievement Award in May 2010. In 2013 she was recognized as one of Hawaii's Outstanding Advocates for Children and Youth. 


Despite her retirement, Judge Radius continues to sit per diem on juvenile and child abuse cases in the Family Court. She is an active supporter of Girls Court and volunteers to improve the juvenile justice system, and to identify and foster relationships with agencies and individuals that can provide opportunities for at-risk children and youth. Judge Radius is an active participant in the national alliance Fostering Girls Strengths, which seeks to raise awareness and collective action to support the needs of marginalized girls in the U.S.


Notably, Judge Radius volunteers her time as the President of Surfrider Spirit Sessions, and has been instrumental in maintaining this grassroots nonprofit that provides healthy volunteer mentors to girls and boys. Surfrider Spirit Sessions teaches participants to surf and simultaneously teaches life lessons by using surf as a metaphor for life. Judge Radius is on a newly formed Task Force to develop Hawaii's protocol for identifying and providing services for youth who are commercially sexually exploited. She also serves as co-chair of the social concerns committee of her church.

Honorable Jennifer Ching



Judge who has made significant contributions to the bench that advance the mission of Hawaii Women Lawyers

Honorable Jennifer Ching

Judge Ching has been a District Family Court Judge in the First Circuit Court, State of Hawaii since 2005. She is assigned currently to the Special Division, in which she handles adoption, guardianship (minors and incapacitated adults), domestic abuse restraining order, adult abuse, paternity, and involuntary hospitalization cases. During her tenure as a Judge, she has been assigned to all of the four divisions in Family Court.

Judge Ching has been the Presiding Judge of Girls Court since 2010; this followed Founding Judge Karen Radius' retirement in 2009. Girls Court is a gender-responsive and strengths-based program that serves girls in the juvenile justice system and their families. Girls Court partners with community and professional individuals and agencies from public and private sectors to augment services for at-risk girls.

Judge Ching was previously a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for the City and County of Honolulu, State of Hawaii, from 1982 to 2005. Her caseload included juvenile, domestic violence, sexual assault, and career criminal cases. Throughout the years, in both juvenile and adult courts, many of her sexual assault cases involved child victims.

Before joining the Department of the Prosecuting Attorney, she was in private practice. Judge Ching graduated from Lewis and Clark College-Northwestern School of Law in Portland, Oregon. She graduated from Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon with a double major in English and Psychology.

Robert A. Chong



Individual in our community who has over her or his career made significant contributions in areas that advance the mission of Hawaii Women Lawyers

Robert A. Chong

For over 35 years, Robert "Bobby" Chong has stood for excellence in the field of law, and served as an esteemed member of the Supreme Court of Hawai’i's Board of Examiners. Although Bobby assures us he is not ready to retire, he has clearly dedicated a lifetime of service to our community, to influencing the future and integrity of our legal profession, and to excellence in his field, making him the ideal choice for this year's Lifetime Achievement Award.

As a young(er) man, Bobby graduated from St. Louis High School, now known as St. Louis School, in 1970. He then attended the University of Notre Dame graduating in 1974, and is still known as a "Domer" to fellow Notre Dame alumni; this refers to a Notre Dame graduate who is "smart, educated, hard working, selfless, practices his faith, is compassionate, kind and a leader." Bobby received his JD from St. Louis Law School in 1977, and was admitted to the Hawaii bar in 1978. In 1986, Bobby became a partner with the law firm of Libkuman, Ventura, Ayabe & Hughes, specializing in the area of workers' compensation law.

In 1979, Bobby was appointed to the Supreme Court's Board of Examiners by the late Chief Justice William S. Richardson and he has continued on the Board ever since. In 1993, then Chief Justice Ronald Moon appointed Bobby to Chair the Board of Examiners. Bobby also continues to serve as a hearing committee member on the Disciplinary Board of the Hawai’i Supreme Court since his appointment in 1991. On June 10, 2010, the Supreme Court of Hawai’i honored Bobby by proclaiming it "Robert A. Chong Day" in the Courts of the State of Hawai’i, to acknowledge his voluntary service to the Courts, particularly in the area of bar admissions. 

On a national level, Bobby has volunteered many years of service as a trustee for the nonprofit National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE). Bobby is currently serving a one-year term as secretary for NCBE, and has been elected to become chair of the national board in late 2016.

In 2005, Bobby was awarded the C. Frederick Schutte Award from the Hawaii State Bar Association (HSBA). In 2007, the Young Lawyers Division of the HSBA awarded him with the Justice Award. From 2010 to present, he has been recognized by his peers as one of the top practitioners in his field, in US News and World Report, and Best Lawyers in Hawai’i, Honolulu Magazine. When his law partners were asked to think of one word that best describes Bobby, common responses were "Gentleman", "Aloha", "Goodhearted", "Classy", and of course, a "DOMER". 

For his years of devotion to the future and integrity of our legal community--particularly to the Hawaii Board of Examiners--and for a lifetime of love and aloha dedicated to the State of Hawaii, Hawaii Women Lawyers is proud to recognize Bobby Chong as this year's recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award.  


Women of Waianae



In recognition of leadership in support of our community, the advancement of women and equality of all people

Women of Waianae

Informally founded in 1989, Women of Wai’anae ("WOW") traces its roots back to two friends--Karen Young and Mary Ellen Apostol--who were appalled to see their national women's association dues being channelled up to mainland-corporate offices, rather than helping people in the local community. Karen and Mary Ellen terminated their association memberships, and decided to take matters into their own hands.

Shortly thereafter, WOW was born, with a mission to provide financial support for residents of the Wai’anae Coast, particularly for nontraditional students striving to return to school for a college or trade school education, to enrich their lives (and their families' lives) and build resiliency within the Wai’anae community. Early efforts were modest, starting with chili sales and small neighborhood yard sales, but these sales soon became popular, and attracted regular customers. WOW's very first scholarship of $750 was awarded in November 1989, to a mother of 2 who wanted to go back to school for a nursing degree (she is now a registered nurse, and works at the Leeward Nursing Home in Makaha).

After 25 years, WOW is still kicking and stronger than ever, as a 501(c)(3) organization boasting 11 scholarships awarded in 2014--ranging from $500 to $1900--and over 120 scholarships awarded in all since WOW's inception. Whenever possible, WOW also offers no-interest loans for education-related needs, and micro loans for folks who are just getting off the ground. While WOW continues to raise funds through its--now acclaimed-- yard sales, it also hosts themed brunches, dinners and teas combined with silent auction events. In recent years, it has also received grant monies from Hawaii Women's Legal Foundation.

Today, many of WOW's past scholarship recipients hold key leadership positions in the community, as (to name a few) teachers' assistants, nurses, social workers, shelter administrators, assistant preschool administrators, and program coordinators at the community college. "We still believe that education and access to opportunity is key to individual and family growth and stability, and that in turn helps to strengthen the community."



Past Awardees


Outstanding Woman Lawyer of the Year

2013 Rep. Della Au Bellati
2012 Senator Maile Shimabukuro
2011 Shannon Wack and Jo Kim
2010 Kathryn Matayoshi
2009 Florence Nakakuni
2008 Hazel Beh
2007 Senator Colleen Hanabusa
2006 Colleen Wong
2005 Thalia Murphy
2004 Lea Hong
2003 Professor Mari Matsuda
2002 Congresswoman Patsy Mink
2001 General Coral Wong Pietsch
2000 Donna Tanoue
1999 Susan Ichinose
1998 Attorney General Margery Bronster
1997 Beadie Kanahele Dawson
1996 Yuklin Aluli
1995 Stephanie Rezents
1994 Pamela Ferguson-Brey
1993 Mervina Cash-Kaeo
1992 Esther Kwon Arinaga
1991 Ellen Godbey Carson
1990 Lorraine Akiba
1989 Joyce Neely & Leslie A. Hayashi
1988 Joann Yukimura
1987 Elizabeth Jubin Fujiwara
1986 Susan Oki Mollway
1985 Sherry Broder
1984 Angie King
1983 Shelby Anne Floyd
1982 Carol Mon Lee
1981 Meredith Lennel

Outstanding Judicial Achievement Award

2013 Judge Christine Kuriyama
2012 Judge Leslie Hayashi
2011 Judge Faye Koyanagi
2010 Judge Leslie Kobayashi
2009 Judge Corinne Watanabe

2008 Judge Mark Browning
2007 Judge Karen Radius
2006 Judge Sabrina S. McKenna
2005 Judge Colleen Hirai
2004 Judge Susan Oki Mollway
2003 Judge Marie Milks
2002 Justice Paula Nakayama
2001 Judge Frances Wong

Lifetime Achievement Award


2013 Director Loretta Fuddy

2012 Marilyn Lee
2011 Professor Jon Markham Van Dyke
2010 Chief Justice Ronald T. Y. Moon
2009 Mahealani Perez Wendt
2008 Sonia Faust
2007 Judge Marcia Waldorf
2006 Shimeji Ryusaki Kanazawa
2005 Melody MacKenzie
2004 Lois Yasui
2003 Alana W. Lau
2002 Shelby Anne Floyd
2001 Beadie Kanahele Dawson
2000 Bernice Littman
1999 Ah Quon McElrath
1998 Chief Justice William S. Richardson
1997 Honorable Evelyn Lance
1996 Congresswoman Patsy Mink
1995 Honorable Betty Vitousek
1994 Naomi Campbell


Distinguished Service Award

2013 Representative Sylvia Luke

2012 U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono
2011 Elizabeth Kent
2010 Amy Agbayani, Ph. D
2009 Adriana Ramelli
2008 Rob Perez
2007 Chris Chun
2006 Dean Carol Mon Lee
2005 Laurie Tochiki
2004 Nanci Kreidman
2003 Lorraine Robinson
2002 Denise Antolini
2001 Allicyn Hikida Tasaka & Annelle Amaral
2000 Ellen Godbey Carson
1999 Diane Yukihiro Chang
1998 Jacqueline Young
1997 Dorothy “Dolly” Ching
1996 Judy Weightman
1995 Reverend Pamela Vessels & Anne Clarkin
1994 Judy Sobin & Windward Spouse Abuse Coalition
1993 Honorable Marie Milks
1992 Rep. Annelle Amaral & Sara Lyn Smith
1991 Chief Justice Herman T.F. Lum
1990 Honorable Helen Gillmor
1989 Senator Mary George
1988 Eleanor Pearce
1987 Naomi Campbell
1986 Congresswoman Patsy Mink
1985 C. Frederick Schutte
1984 Honorable Betty Vitousek
1982 Harriet Bouslog
1981 Rhoda Lewis

President’s Award

2013 Hawaii State Commission on the Status of Women

2012 Ete Bowl Founders & Participants
2011 Susan Ichinose
2010 Kimberlee Bassford
2009 Elisabeth Chun
2008 Melissa Pavlicek
2007 Louise K. Y. Ing
2006 Congresswoman Mazie Hirono
2005 Representative Barbara Marumoto
2004 Dr. Laura Weldon Hoque
2003 Karen Char & June R. Lee
2002 Lynn Maunakea
2001 Patricia McManaman
2000 Rai Saint Chu & Emme Tomimbang
1999 M. Casey Jarman
1998 Sister Michelle McQueeny
1997 Gladys Kamakuokalani Aiona Brandt
1996 Honorable Marie Milks
1995 Madelyn Perry & Reverend Pamela Boyd
1994 Cynthia Thielen
1993 Trudy Burns Stone
1992 Sharon Burnham Takeuchi
1991 Susan Arinaga Li
1990 Michelle Tucker
1989 Susan Jaworowski